Buildings and Grounds Committee votes to demolish University Garden Apartments, discusses sustainability report – The Cavalier Daily

The Board of Visitors’ Buildings and Grounds Committee voted to demolish the University Garden Apartments during its Thursday meeting and considered proposed designs for the new physics building, among other agenda items.

Chair Robert Hardie opened the session by reminding committee members of their responsibility and privilege to make founding decisions.

“We are blessed to have what many consider to be the finest campus and architecture in the country – it is our responsibility to be good stewards,” Hardie said.

Agenda items for this meeting included reviewing and approving the schematic design for the Physics Building classroom renovation, a $7 million project to encourage active learning, and adding windows to the west end of the building to provide natural light .

The design team, led by Goody Clancy Architects, also plans to construct a new ceiling-to-floor structure – complete with fixtures and fittings – between the second and third levels of the building. The schematic plan calls for a 135-student classroom on the second floor, and a hybrid auditorium and classroom support space on the third floor.

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The committee also voted to approve the Darden School of Business master plan, which aims to improve the academic experience of students by creating an academic “hub”, expanding green spaces and improving connectivity between the North Grounds and Central Grounds.

University architect Alice Raucher emphasized that due to the many components of the master plan, approval does not necessarily mean approval for a specific project.

“This is not an approval for a specific project,” Raucher said. “This would come back to you for either project approval or concept site design guidelines or both for approval before any project can move forward.”

The plan was first conceived in 2016 with Robert AM Stern Architects to “maximize strategic facility growth at the Darden site” and updated in 2021.

Darden Dean Scott Beardsley said he believes the proposed master plan will help Darden attract bright minds in the business world.

“We think we can do things quite economically and it will make us more competitive by providing office space that we need and most importantly a great academic experience,” Beardsley said.

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Another item approved by the committee was the demolition Apartments in the university garden, located across from the John Paul Jones Arena. The apartments were built in 1948 and served as living quarters for married couples and graduate students from the 1960s until 2019. According to the report, the apartments are largely not worth preserving due to high operating costs.

Colette Sheehy, senior vice president for operations and state government relations, said the buildings were no longer fit for use.

“It would be really prohibitive to make them habitable again – the mechanical electrical plumbing systems are not good. The roofs are not good [and] They’re not centrally air-conditioned,” Sheehy said. “The site itself is probably more valuable to the university without the buildings because of its location.”

The board also voted to authorize the addition of a new project to the Major Capital Plan. The proposed project would improve educational programs for U. Va. NOVA – the university’s Northern Virginia campus – by renting and renovating space at the Inova Center for Personalized Health campus in Fairfax. The building to be used was originally owned by Exxon Mobil prior to its acquisition by INOVA and is not affiliated with INOVA Hospital. The proposed $20.6 million project would create classrooms and office space, and provide furniture and equipment for the campus.

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The committee then heard two reports from Sheehy, one reviewing the committee’s sustainability goals and achievements and the other discussing efforts to implement the capital program recommendations made by HKA Global at the 2021 board meeting.

The report, prepared by HKA Global, found that the university’s spending on investment projects is consistent with that of other institutions. The report’s recommendations include goals for intensifying the budget development process to better address risk management, producing regular project status reports, and developing a project order process to ensure there is an understanding of future projects and budgets.

The Building and Property Committee will meet again during the December Board meeting.

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